He asked me if I would like to be involved with a new QVC project. I think I'd have said yes whatever it was, but when I tell you what I was being offered you'll understand why it took approximately a nanosecond for me to make the decision!
"Would you like to fly to Dubai where you'll board the newest in Cunard's fleet of cruise ships, the Queen Elizabeth, to make a series of short films to help our viewers understand what going on a cruise holiday is like?"
This is something new for us at QVC. We've not offered you so much as a day out before, and the whole concept of buying your holiday from the television isn't one many of us have considered.
Of course, a holiday is often our biggest spend of the year and something we look forward to hugely – a break that doesn't live up to our hopes is a massive disappointment. So, if we're going to suggest you buy your trip from us, we absolutely need to help you find the holiday you're dreaming of.
The key to booking the right holiday is finding one that suits your individual needs – we all have different hopes and priorities when it comes to relaxing. Is food important to you, and if so what sort? Do you like to be busy, or is nothing to do your idea of bliss? Are you strictly casual or do you like to dress up? Dance all night or quiet drink and a chat? Or maybe a little of all of the above.
It was only when I spoke to some of the holidaymakers on ship that I realised all this and more is on offer if you choose to cruise, and we've teamed up with cruise experts Imagine Cruising to help you make the right choice.
The first Imagine Cruising show is on Tuesday 6 May at 4pm, and there will be another show offering different cruises every Tuesday in May. There are holidays to suit all pockets, visiting cities all over the world from the Caribbean to Cape Town, San Francisco to Sydney and Dubrovnik to Dubai, which is where I flew to join the Queen Elizabeth.
She is the most amazing ship – a floating village really – decked out in stunning Art Deco style with the heritage of Cunard resonating in every corner. I only spent a short time on her – just one leg of what was a round the world trip – but enjoyed every minute. From the stateroom (upgraded from inside cabin to one with a balcony if you book a Cunard Cruise though us) to the restaurants, the swimming pools to the spa, the shopping to the cocktail lounge and Golden Lion pub, she seems to have everything. And of course, the beauty of a cruise is that you have the excitement of visiting different locations but only unpack once!
We spoke to lots of people on board, and you can hear their views on the shows over the next few weeks, but the overriding trend was that you can take whatever you want from a cruise, and leave what you don't.
The director of entertainment told me about an extensive range of activities, lectures, theatre shows and sports events, but some people prefer to just relax with a book. You can help yourself to a huge variety of food from the buffet, or dine in fine style with white star waiter service and a menu that changes every evening. We were lucky enough to eat at the Captain's table on the night that we spent at sea.
I was working – if you can call it that – with a great team of QVC guys (sound engineer Gordon, director Steve and cameraman Pete from left to right with me in the photo). My only complaint was that no-one told me about the black top and denim shorts uniform… but I forgive them, and if they ask me to do it all again I'll be there like a shot!
If you can, do tune in to our Imagine Cruising show, even if you've never thought yourself the 'cruising' type, or assumed you couldn't afford 'that' sort of holiday. You may be surprised! Imagine Cruising are there to help you pick the perfect programme – talk to their expert advisors and ask every question you can think of to ensure you match the itinerary and ship to your own specific needs.
But be warned, every cruise we're offering will have some added value to give you a bespoke holiday to remember – you could just find yourself hooked on life on the high seas!